Understanding your pregnancy: Week 24

Understanding your pregnancy: Week 24

A quick snapshot

If you catch sight of yourself in the mirror this week, you might be seeing a more rounded version of usual self. At 24 weeks, your bottom, thighs, tummy and upper arms seem more filled out and less defined than they were. There's just a bit of softness happening overall and it's not all on the outside. You could find yourself feeling more emotional than you usually are, with situations or stories really affecting you.

If you've always prided yourself on being very disciplined about your eating and exercise habits, being 24 weeks pregnant may come as a rude shock. You're hungry, tired and feeling as if you really couldn't be bothered keeping up your usual routines. Give yourself a break and ease into what should be a reasonably relaxing time. Keep a supply of treats in the pantry and reach for them if you're feeling low. Look for other ways to boost your spirits too, like lovely shower products, new underwear, some jewellery or a new book.

What’s changing in your body

  • You could be finding yourself experiencing dry and irritated eyes this week. It may be worse if you wear glasses or contact lenses. Lubricating eye drops or artificial tears will help. Remember to wear your sunglasses when you're out in the sun.
  • Stretch marks could start forming on your tummy, thighs, breasts or hips around this time. They occur when the collagen fibres in the middle layer of skin (the dermis) stretch and tear to accommodate an enlarging shape and body size. Massage your tummy with some emollient cream or one with Vitamin E included. The best time to do this is after showering, when your skin is still warm, damp and the pores more open.
  • You may be noticing small pimple like spots on your areolas. These are called Montgomery's Tubercles and they will secrete an oily lubricant which will help to nourish your nipples and keep them supple. Try not to be too vigorous with the soap when you shower and don't think you need to use pimple cream to help them clear up.
  • Don't be alarmed if you feel like you need to swallow all the time. Excess saliva is a common condition and although it can be messy and irritating, it doesn't mean anything is wrong. Try chewing gum, sucking on mints and carrying around tissues to absorb the excess if you need to.
  • More headaches hanging around this week, which could be impacting on your work or general concentration. Look for triggers which bring them on. For many women this is chocolate, caffeine, being out in the bright light, not drinking enough water or having a low blood sugar level from not eating frequently enough. If lying down and resting doesn't help, check with your doctor about what medications are safe for you to take.

How your emotions are affected

  • Feeling connected with your baby yet? You may find yourself rubbing your tummy subconsciously, dreaming of how your baby will look and even smiling silently to yourself when you think about it.
  • Many pregnant couples make up a nickname for their baby while it is still in the uterus. Be careful though! Names started in all innocence, can stick for years and you could find yourself having to explain yourself in time to come.

How your baby is growing

Second Trimester: Week 2426

  • Your little baby weighs around 680g this week and is 30cm long. They are forming footprints and fingerprints, unique markers which will reflect their own DNA.
  • Your baby is gaining around 170g a week now, around the same amount it will gain in the first few months after birth. Fat, muscle and growing bones account for most of their weight gain.
  • Your baby has eyelashes and eyebrows growing this week but they still need to compete for space on that hairy little face. All that excess hair will be reabsorbed by the time you reach your due date, just leaving hair where it should be.
  • Your baby has some control now over their senses. Their sight, taste, touch, hearing and taste are all maturing so that by birth, they will be able to respond to feeding stimulus.
  • Babies who are born at 24 weeks need specialist care and support in order to survive. However, improved neonatal care has meant the long term health effects on premature babies are much less than they once were.

Tips for the week

  • If you normally have your hair dyed, think about leaving it au natural while you are pregnant. Although there's no hard, scientific evidence that links hair dyes to risk in pregnancy, it is better to err on the safe side. Likewise defer having a perm or chemical treatment on your scalp, at least until after the baby is born.
  • Keep some cranberry juice in the fridge. This powerhouse of Vitamin C also has the added benefit of helping with urinary tract infections.
  • Put a foot stool under your desk at work and in front of your favourite lounge chair. Get into the habit of elevating your legs too when you can to avoid blood pooling and congestion.